For us, "Smart Homies" our favorite part of the holiday season, are new releases of smart home devices.
As you might know, Amazon's huge 2019 hardware event wrapped up. With a whopping 15 products announced, the vast bulk of the recently released kit we look at today comes from Bezos's stable.
We’ll also touch on a handful of options from Google, but their recent product offerings don't stand up to the onslaught from Amazon.
We’ll kick off with the latest kit from Amazon. All of the following devices are either available now or due for imminent release before Christmas.
The Sweet, Sweet, Revamp of Smart Speakers
Amazon recently dropped a couple of retooled smart speakers.
The all-new Echo Dot (Third-Generation) now comes with a clock displayed on a subtle LED display woven into the fabric surrounding the speaker. It's great news if you're looking to minimize screen time in the bedroom. Also, since, “What time is it?” constitutes the most common query from Echo Dot users, it should save you a job, too.
If you want a slightly beefier smart speaker, the overhauled Echo (Third-Generation) is now available for pre-order. This iteration boasts the neodymium drivers previously the preserve of Echo Plus. You’ll also get some new colorways to supplement the classics you’re used to. New privacy controls round out a winning package.
What if you want something a little more powerful, though?
Upscale Smart Speaker
The forthcoming Echo Studio is a high-end smart speaker Amazon is touting as the “most innovative speaker” it’s brought to market.
In competition with Google Nest Max and Apple HomePod, five speakers come together to create a vibrant and detailed soundscape.
You’ll enjoy all the usual streaming services on offer with Echo devices covering all main bases.
You can also take advantage of Alexa's 85,000 skills to help to organize your day.
As with all Echo smart speakers, Echo Studio also gives you hands-free control of other compatible devices in your connected home.
How about if you’re looking for a screen with your virtual butler?
Mid-Sized Smart Display
Now sitting neatly between Echo Show 5 and the original 10-inch Echo Show, Echo Show 8 goes head-to-head with Google Nest Hub and its 7-inch display.
As with all smart displays, this unit makes a great addition to the kitchen. Alexa can now grab contextual information from recipes to help when you’re cooking. You can keep one eye on your cooking and the other on the screen.
For The Kids
You’ll be able to teach your kids how to change the color of the lighting with voice commands and an Echo device. You can also create colored routines with a Rainbow Timer to keep your children on track when they’re getting ready.
Cheap, cheerful and available for pre-order now, why not brighten up your children’s bedrooms this Christmas with Echo Glow?
Take Alexa Everywhere
We recently took a look at what to expect from Echo Flex, so what will you get when Amazon's smallest Echo device drops this month?
Echo Flex allows you to take Alexa, where access would otherwise be problematic. We're thinking stairways, hallways and basements or attics.
All you need to do is pop directly into a power outlet then take advantage of the on-board mics to interact with the perfect Alexa.
Truly Wireless Headphones
With wireless headphones continuing to fly off the shelves, Amazon has finally entered the fray with Echo Buds.
Five hours of battery life is relatively robust. You can extend this to 20 hours with the charging case. You'll be able to deliver a quick burst of charge in just 15 minutes if you run out of juice on the go.
With multiple eartips bundled, you should get a customized fit.
Drivers give you crisp and clear audio while the Active Noise Reduction Technology from audio specialist Bose is a beautiful touch.
With Alexa thrown in, these truly wireless headphones are likely to give Apple’s AirPods a run for their money this holiday season.
And we’re not done yet with Amazon’s impressive roster of new tech!
If you’re hunting for some smart glasses, treat yourself to some Echo Frames. Currently available by invite only, are you on the list for these Alexa-enabled glasses?
Invite-Only Smart Ring
Another invite-only gem, Echo Loop, is a smart ring that delivers vibrations for notifications.
Bulky due to the pair of mics and haptic engine, this is more gimmick than attractive jewelry. Still, we're interested to see the reaction from consumers as the invite-only roll-out gets underway and Echo Loop drops for regular release.
Smart Oven and Air Fryer with Alexa Capability
Smart ovens have often failed roundly to deliver. The Amazon Smart Oven (Works with Alexa) comes hard on the heels of the Alexa-powered microwave from last year.
You’ll now also be able to air fry and use convection cooking.
Alexa weighs in to give you advice on cooking times if you scan the barcode of your package.
This poky smart oven is available for pre-order now.
Mesh WiFi System
The foundation of any good smart home is a dependable WiFi connection.
If you’ve got a large home with flat spots or you just find the signal is not quite up to scratch, invest in the Amazon eero Mesh WiFi System, and you'll notice a massive improvement.
You’ll be able to use Alexa to help you navigate settings, set-up is over in 10 minutes flat and you’ll enjoy super-strong WiFi hosed from corner to corner of your home.
Here’s some further reading on mesh WiFi systems and why they work so well.
Compact Indoor Security Camera
Ring Indoor Cam is a recent addition to the security specialist’s massive line-up.
You’ll be able to plug this tiny camera in or run it on batteries.
With the all-new Home Mode, you can disable video recording at will. This is a valuable touch if you’re concerned about always-on devices.
With that huge roll-call of Amazon products put to bed, we’ll finish off with a few offerings from the competition…
To round out, here are a trio of devices from the mighty G that might be worth popping on your Christmas list:
- Google Nest Hub Max
- Google Nest Mini
- Google Nest WiFi
The rebranded Google Nest Hub Max comes with a 10-inch screen pitching it head-to-head with the original Amazon Echo Show.
Hub Max comes with a more powerful speaker than you'll find on Echo Show, and you'll also get a mini Nest Cam IQ onboard.
You can enjoy a live feed of your living room in-app, and you'll also be able to make and receive video calls.
Google Nest Mini, now into its second generation, comes with uprated sound despite retaining the same tiny form factor.
This is a highly affordable and effective way to bring Google Assistant into your home.
In direct competition with the mesh WiFi system from Amazon, Google Nest WiFi comes in a 2-pack giving 4400 square feet of coverage.
For a dependable internet in your smart home, you should seriously consider a mesh network.
Do any of the above devices tempt you? If so, why not sign up for our email newsletter? That way, you’ll qualify for a 20% discount off your first order here at Smarthome.
Bookmark our blog, too, and come back for more of the latest smart home devices Monday through Friday. We've got plenty lined up for the coming holiday season, so keep your eyes peeled for more handy guides and more of the finest products for your connected home. See you soon!